Wilansky sees spin-off in Filene's B'ment future
February 24, 2003-- Home Textiles Today,
Though taking the presidential reins of Filene's Basement only very recently, Heywood Wilansky already has several clear ideas to take the off-price chain to a point where it can spin off from Value City Department Stores and become a public company — a three- to five-year project, he believes.
"I wouldn't have come back out of early retirement for a traditional department store opportunity," the former professor at the University of Maryland told Home Textiles Today. While the mid-tier department stores are "going nowhere," other areas provide greater growth prospects, like the high-end sector, including Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf, discounters such as Wal-Mart, and the off-price chains, he said.
As does the potential of the home area in the off-price arena, he added. He estimated that Filene's Basement's home assortment was about 6 percent of total sales currently and felt that it can definitely be expanded beyond that.
"I'm used to having a bigger home store," he said, having served as ceo for Foley's, Filene's and The Bon-Ton Stores. "Those stores have a home area at about 12 percent to 20 percent of sales. I'm not sure if Filene's Basement would get into that amount of penetration, but certainly more than 6 percent."
In order for Filene's Basement to become a standalone chain again — it was purchased by Value City in 2000 — it would have to double its store base, which is now at 20 units, Wilansky said.
Filene's Basement will open a few more locations this year, including the Atlanta store in late May, with others to be announced later on.
Related Content By Author
Industry Related Content
Online Moves From Afterthought To Main Thought For Textiles Suppliers